Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Workman Publishing: Meltdown: Discover Earth's Irreplaceable Glaciers and Learn What You Can Do to Save Them by Anita Sanchez, illustrated by Lily Padula

Tor Teen: The Luminaries by Susan Dennard

Graphix: The Tryout: A Graphic Novel by Christina Soontornvat, illustrated by Joanna Cacao

Yen on: Dark Souls: Masque of Vindication by Michael Stackpole

Grove Press: A Ballet of Lepers: A Novel and Stories by Leonard Cohen

Apollo Publishers: Why Not?: Lessons on Comedy, Courage, and Chutzpah by Mark Schiff

John Scognamiglio Book: In the Time of Our History by Susanne Pari


Assassin Shot Down by Publisher

Oops. Little, Brown has withdrawn Assassin of Secrets by Q.R. Markham, just published by Mulholland Books, because "many passages and lines have been taken from a variety of classic and contemporary spy novels," the publisher said. Wholesalers and retailers should return copies of the original paperback for full credit, and consumers should seek refunds from the retailers they bought the books from. Markham is a pseudonym for Quentin Rowan, a co-owner of Spoonbill & Sugartown, Booksellers, in Brooklyn, N.Y. Assassin of Secrets was his first novel.

Little, Brown executive v-p and publisher Michael Pietsch said, "We take great pride in the writers and books we publish and tremendous care in every aspect of our publishing process, so it is with deep regret that we have published a book that we can no longer stand behind. Our goal is to never have this happen, but when it does, it is important to us to communicate with and compensate readers and retailers as quickly as possible."

The plagiarized authors included Ian Fleming, Robert Ludlum and Charles McCarry, according to the New York Times. Mulholland reportedly printed 6,500 copies of the book.

Flyaway Books: The Coat by Séverine Vidal, illustrated by Louis Thomas

Indigo Downloads Kobo to Rakuten

Japanese Internet services company Rakuten has reached an agreement with Canadian chain Indigo Books & Music to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Kobo on a fully diluted basis for $315 million. The majority shareholder in Kobo, Indigo expects to receive between $140 million and $150 million from the proceeds of the sale, which should close early next year.

After the sale, Kobo will continue to function as a stand-alone operation in Toronto and be headed by Michael Serbinis (in photo, with Heather Reisman, Indigo's CEO and chair of Kobo), and Indigo will maintain a relationship with Kobo, supporting the products and the services both in-store and online.

"Rakuten will allow Kobo to meet the demands of competing with the very best players in the world," said Reisman.

Both Borders Group in the U.S. and REDGroup Retail in Australia held stakes in Kobo until their bankruptcies.

Soho Crime: Blown by the Same Wind (Cold Storage Novel) by John Straley

Amazon vs. Barnes & Noble in Numbers Battle days ago when Barnes & Noble introduced its new tablet Nook, CEO William Lynch highlighted consumers' ability to walk into any Barnes & Noble store for product support. "Where do you go for support for [Amazon's] Kindle Fire?" he asked at the press conference. "To Seattle?"

Yesterday Amazon apparently shot back, issuing a release stating that "over 16,000 stores across the U.S. will be selling the new Kindle family starting November 15. Customers will be able to visit any Best Buy, Target, Walmart, Staples, Sam's Club, RadioShack, Office Depot, as well as several other retailers."

The company even quoted executives at some of the retailers. A Best Buy executive said, "We are excited to work with Amazon to provide consumers the opportunity to touch, test, try and buy the Kindle Fire in all Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile stores nationwide."

Still, the key phrase was product support, not product in inventory.

AuthorBuzz for the Week of 08.08.22

B&N Lobbied for Antitrust Investigation of Microsoft

As it has continued to fight Microsoft claims of patent infringement, Barnes & Noble lobbied the Justice Department to investigate Microsoft for antitrust violations, saying that the software company was "trying to kill off handheld devices like B&N's Nook e-reader with a barrage of 'frivolous' patent suits," the Wall Street Journal reported.

Microsoft has sued various companies using Google's Android software, which it says has infringed some of its patents.

Without indicating how much Microsoft wanted for a license, Barnes & Noble general counsel Eugene DeFelice wrote in a March letter to the Department: "Microsoft's exorbitant licenses for its patents entrench the dominant players in the relevant markets because those players can afford to take a license, while small players cannot."

Weiser Books: Hearth and Home Witchcraft: Rituals and Recipes to Nourish Home and Spirit by Jennie Blonde

RiverRun Finds New Space

RiverRun Bookstore, Portsmouth, N.H., has found new space for the store, it said yesterday. The store had announced last week that it would not renew its current lease and so had to move by the end of the year and that it needs $100,000 in investments (Shelf Awareness, November 7, 2011). The store is holding a community meeting tonight to explore options.


Harper Muse: When We Had Wings: A Story of the Angels of Bataan by Ariel Lawhon, Kristina McMorris, and Susan Meissner

Follett Opening Single, Huge Warehouse

Follett Higher Education Group, which has 930 college stores and is a wholesaler to more than 1,600 independent college stores, among other services, is building a 551,200-sq.-ft. warehouse in Aurora, Ill., that will also house headquarters for its wholesale and virtual bookstores businesses. The "single distribution center" replaces Follett's River Grove, Ill., distribution center, which the company said is "processing five million more units per year than the facility's original capacity."

Follett will begin moving its virtual bookstore operations this month and will continue the transition through 2013. The new facility has 518,000 square feet devoted to warehouse operations and up to 40,000 square feet for office space.


Broadleaf Books: Between the Listening and the Telling: How Stories Can Save Us by Mark Yaconelli

BISG Consumer Survey: E-Book Passion Unabated

E-book sales will continue to grow as readers show increased loyalty to, and satisfaction with, the digital format, according to the second volume of the Book Industry Study Group's Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading survey.
"The e-book market is developing very fast, with consumer attitudes and behaviors changing over the course of months, rather than years," said Angela Bole, BISG's deputy executive director.

Among the findings of the new BISG survey:

  • Nearly 50% of print book consumers who have also acquired an e-book during the past 18 months would wait up to three months for the e-version of a book from a favorite author, rather than immediately read it in print. A year ago, only 38% said they would wait this long.
  • More than 46% of those who say they acquire e-books at least weekly (considered "Power Buyers" in this survey) report that they have increased their dollars spent for books in all formats, compared with 30.4% of all survey respondents.
  • Amazon continues to be the preferred source for e-books (70%) and e-book information (44%), followed by Barnes & Noble (26%) and Apple, but libraries are gaining ground.
  • Seventy-five percent of respondents said are satisfied with their e-reading device, including more than 38% of respondents who reported being "very satisfied." Less than 5% said they felt their e-reading device was not a good value for the money.
  • While the cost of e-reading devices remains a concern, the single most popular answer to the question of what hinders respondents from reading more e-books was "nothing," at 33% (up from 17.6% a year ago).

Volume Three of BISG's Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading has just launched and will cover e-book consumer behaviors from now through September 2012.

Vive les Indies!

French publishers and distributors are "taking steps to remedy independents' financial plight," the Bookseller reported. The most recent example is Gallimard. Beginning in January, retailers deriving more than 50% of turnover from books will be offered discounts of at least 35% and "will be able to obtain extra discounts of one or two points by running promotions on the basis of qualitative and quantitive targets."

This follows measures enacted by Hachette Livre, L'Ecole des Loisirs and Générale du Livre earlier this year in response to "alarm bells" rung by French booksellers at a special conference in Lyon. Flammarion and distributors Volumen and CDE are also "working on new terms that they plan to finalize before the end of the year," the Bookseller wrote, adding that the Lyon event galvanized booksellers to focus on their survival and "close ranks" through local associations and the French Booksellers Association (Syndicat de la Librairie Française, SLF).

Google eBooks Launches Down Under

Google eBooks made its debut in Australia yesterday, a year after its U.S. launch, the Herald Sun reported. Mark Tanner, Google Australia eBooks partnership manager, said the company is working with Australian booksellers Booktopia and Dymocks, and has "two more coming on line: QBD--one of the top three chains in Australia--and Co-Op, the university book sellers.''

Michael Allara, general manager of eCommerce for Dymocks, called the partnership "a natural progression for us as we continue to innovate and expand our digital offering."

The country's independent booksellers are looking toward an e-future as well. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Pages & Pages bookstore, Mosman, "will be the first independent to install a kiosk using the ReadCloud platform and within two weeks Abbeys, Newtown's Better Read than Dead, Berkelouw and Shearers will follow."

"Readers want service and they trust their local bookshop more than a computer algorithm or paid for merchandising which you get from Amazon and Apple," said Jon Page of Pages & Pages. "The job of a bookseller is to put the right book in the right hands, and it's no different with e-books. This is about giving people choice."

The Morning Herald also observed that the success of indie e-book ventures "will depend on how rapidly the independent booksellers can build their catalogues to match Google's and the extent to which local publishers will permit discounting of e-book versions. Some customers could permanently migrate to Google's dedicated retail site if customer relationships are not maintained."


Image of the Day: Fifth Annual Poets Forum

Last month the Fifth Annual Poets Forum, sponsored by the Academy of American Poets, kicked off with the Chancellors' Reading, featuring 15 major poets and the chancellors of the academy all on one stage. Other events of the Poets Forum included Susan Howe's Blaney Lecture, "The Whispered Rush: Telepathy of Archives," discussions, readings, lectures and several literary tours of Manhattan. Here in the green room at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts at New York University before the Chancellors' Reading: (from l.) poets Naomi Shihab Nye, Sharon Olds and Ron Padgett.


NCIBA: Rep Picks and More

Calling for the "cream of the crop," Northern California Independent Booksellers Association board member Paul Takushi, manager of the UC Davis Bookstore, led the rep pick session at last month's trade show in Oakland. Each rep was limited to four books in selected categories.

As "new authors to watch," PGW's Ty Wilson picked Ryan Boudinot for his debut novel, Blueprints of the Afterlife (Grove). Random's Liz Willner doubted she needed to mention Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus to this group of savvy booksellers, but she did share that it took the author 12 years to write her debut. Jenn Ramage--also from Random House--picked Stanford professor Adam Johnson for The Orphan Master's Son, reading a praising blurb from Abraham Verghese. It was no surprise that Perseus's Adam Schnitzer chose the memoir by this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner, Leymah Gbowee, Mighty Be Our Powers (Beast Books), which in part recalls how this young woman led a sex strike to bring peace to Liberia.

Farrar, Straus & Giroux's Gigi Reinheimer pointed out that while Hector Tobar might not be a new author, his new novel, The Barbarian Nurseries, makes him an author to watch. Norton's Joe Murphy gave Tom Muller the nod for his nonfiction Extravirginity, which is about olive oil fraud. From Hachette's relatively new Mulholland imprint, Tom McIntyre said Thomas Mullen is a literary rising star, as shown by his sci-fi/mystery novel The Revisionists. Penguin's Lindsay Wood picked Jussi Adler-Olsen--who sold "five million copies" in his native Denmark--for the Dutton novel Keeper of Lost Causes. Jim Hankey picked Filipino author Lysley Tenorio and her debut, Monstress, coming from Ecco. "It was like discovering Daniel Alarcon for the first time again," said Hankey. Rounding out the category, Cheri Hickman reminded booksellers about Julia Sheeres, author of the memoir Jesusland, whose new book, A Thousand Lives (Free Press), shines new light on those who died at and survived Jonestown.

Another category was "title you want indies to champion." Wilson picked Moby Dick in Pictures by Matt Kish (Tin House), which weighs in a four-and-a-half pounds. Willner suggested that booksellers might take the publication of Haruki Murakami's new tome, 1Q84, as an opportunity to get new readers started on his backlist. Ramage suggested Bi-Rite's Market Eat Good Food from Ten Speed, which she described not so much a cookbook as a "good citizen book." Schnitzer called Neill Lochery's Lisbon: War in the Shadow of the City of Light (PublicAffairs), which "has all the intrigue that was hinted at in Casablanca," a "labor of love."

And since almost everybody like a good dog book, Reinheimer pegged Dogs Make Us Human: A Global Family Album by Art Wolfe and Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson (Bloomsbury). Murphy hoped booksellers would get behind Norton's The Complete Record Cover Collection by R. Crumb--who collected everything from Janis Joplin to classic jazz covers. After thanking booksellers for making The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach (Little, Brown) a success, McIntyre hoped booksellers would try hard with The Orchard, a memoir by Theresa Weir from Grand Central. Just My Type by Simon Garfield--which is about typefaces--"doesn't sound very interesting, but it is," said Wood, who reps Gotham. Hankey called Russell Banks "one of the authors I respect the most." His new novel, Lost Memory of Skin, is about paroled sex offenders living under a Miami causeway.

Hickman thanked the booksellers for doing a great job selling Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman (Scribner) and shared her enthusiasm for The Last Testament: A Memoir by God written by David Javerbaum, who was a producer on the Daily Show and wrote much of America and Earth. "It got great buzz at SCIBA and we hope that moves north," said Hickman, who told booksellers to check out the book to find out what sports team He roots for, not to mention what He really thinks of Dan Brown.

At the adult author breakfast, Karl Marlantes talked both profoundly and bluntly about the need for a sacred space on the battlefield in discussing his new book, What It Is Like to Go to War (Grove). Then Adam Mansbach brought much appreciated comic relief by sharing how scary Kathy Lee Gifford really is while talking about his runaway bestseller, Go the F**k to Sleep (Akashic), and forthcoming graphic novel, Nature of the Beast (Soft Skull). (Apparently Gifford has really big teeth, too.) --Bridget Kinsella


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Umberto Eco on Diane Rehm

This morning on the Today Show: Katherine Kallinis and Sophie Kallinis LaMontagne, authors of The Cupcake Diaries: Recipes and Memories from the Sisters of Georgetown Cupcake (HarperOne, $23.99, 9780062090607).


This morning on Imus in the Morning: Chuck Pfarrer, author of SEAL Target Geronimo: The Inside Story of the Mission to Kill Osama bin Laden (St. Martin's, $25.99, 9781250006356).


Tonight on CNN's Piers Morgan: Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, author of Scorpions for Breakfast: My Fight Against Special Interests, Liberal Media, and Cynical Politicos to Secure America's Border (Broadside Books, $25.99, 9780062106391).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Carolyn Savage, co-author of Inconceivable: A Medical Mistake, the Baby We Couldn't Keep, and Our Choice to Deliver the Ultimate Gift (HarperOne, $26.99, 9780062004635).


Tomorrow on Hallmark's Martha Stewart Show: Grace Bonney, author of Design Sponge at Home (Artisan, $35, 9781579654313).

Also on Martha Stewart: Michael Ruhlman, author of Ruhlman's Twenty: 20 Techniques, 100 Recipes, A Cook's Manifesto (Chronicle, $40, 9780811876438).


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Umberto Eco, author of The Prague Cemetery (Houghton Mifflin, $27, 9780547577531).


Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Tony D'Souza, author of Mule: A Novel of Moving Weight (Mariner, $14.95, 9780547576718). As the show put it: "In a passionate and personal interview, Tony D'Souza reveals the life events that led him to write a novel about a solid, middle-class kid who becomes a drug mule. Our interview makes it clear that D'Souza's own life demanded he write this story, which is very different from his first two, more sensitive, humanistic books."


Tomorrow night on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Chris Matthews, author of Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero (Simon & Schuster, $27.50, 9781451635089).


Tomorrow night on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson: Molly Shannon, author of Tilly the Trickster (Abrams Books for Young Readers, $16.95, 9781419700309).

Television: Under the Dome

After "an extensive search," Brian K. Vaughan (Lost) has been hired to adapt Stephen King’s Under the Dome as a drama series for Showtime. called Vaughan "a familiar name for comic book and sci-fi fans. He is best known for writing the comic book series Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina, Runaways and Pride of Baghdad."

DreamWorks's Steven Spielberg and Stacey Snider "originally secured the rights to King's novel shortly after it was published in November 2009," wrote. Under the Dome will be executive produced by King and DreamWorks TV's Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank.

Books & Authors

Book Brahmin: Michael Cannell

Michael Cannell, author of The Limit: Life and Death on the 1961 Grand Prix Circuit (Twelve, November 7, 2011), is a former editor of the House & Home section of the New York Times. He's written for the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, Sports Illustrated and many other publications. He is also publisher of The Design Vote. 

On your nightstand now:

Columbine by Dave Cullen. A masterful demonstration of how intensive, detailed reporting can vivify the characters' inner lives.

Favorite book when you were a child:

My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett. A boy named Elmer Elevator rescues a baby dragon from slavery. Does it get any sweeter than that?

Your top five authors:

Erik Larson, Robert Caro, Tom Wolfe, David Halberstam, Hampton Sides. By my lights these are the marquee names of narrative nonfiction. All use novelistic techniques to shape real-life stories. To me, this is the most exciting field of writing.

Book you've faked reading:

Can't think of one. I'm one of those readers who feels obliged as a matter of discipline to finish any book I pick up. So I'm pretty careful about what I take on.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. It's an astonishingly vivid novel--part F. Scott Fitzgerald, part Raymond Chandler--set in New York of the 1930s.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Have you seen the cover of Lee Miller: A Life by Carolyn Burke? Miller was a model and photographer and notorious seductress.

Book that changed your life:

Robert Capa: A Biography by Richard Whelan. For some reason I read it in the bathtub. Capa was a combat photographer who covered every conflict from the Spanish Civil War to Vietnam. The constancy of death made the value of life all the more vivid to him. He consequently lived with a particular urgency and appetite—a good lesson for all of us.

Favorite line from a book:

"Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a ream." --John Steinbeck, Cannery Row.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Hemingway's masterpiece, The Sun Also Rises. I can think of no book with the same emotional range. You can find the entire sad and beautiful world in those pages. Of course, it's all the more powerful for Hemingway's famously understated phrases.


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Monday and Tuesday, November 14 and 15:

Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope by Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly with Jeffrey Zaslow (Scribner, $26.99, 9781451661064) is the story of the astronaut and congresswoman, including life after the Tucson shooting.

How I Got This Way by Regis Philbin (It Books, $25.99, 9780062109750) is the memoir of the television host and entertainer.

Imperfect Justice: Prosecuting Casey Anthony by Jeff Ashton and Lisa Pulitzer (Morrow, $26.99, 9780062125323) gives the prosecutor's account of the Casey Anthony murder investigation and trial.

Dollhouse by Kim Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian and Khloe Kardashian (Morrow, $24.99, 9780062063823) is a novel about a trio of rich sisters with celebrity problems.

Mrs. Nixon: A Novelist Imagines a Life by Ann Beattie (Scribner, $26, 9781439168714) recreates a fictional personal life for reclusive onetime First Lady Pat Nixon.

From Yesterday to TODAY: Six Decades of America's Favorite Morning Show by Stephen Battaglio (Running Press, $30, 9780762444625) chronicles the history of NBC's Today Show.

Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942 by Ian W. Toll (Norton, $35, 9780393068139) uses primary sources, maps and illustrations to explore the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Battle of Midway from both sides.

KBL: Kill Bin Laden: A Novel Based on True Events by John Weisman (Morrow, $26.99, 9780062119513) is a fictionalized account of the hunt for Bin Laden and the raid on his hideout.

Devil's Gate by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown (Putnam, $27.95, 9780399157820) is the latest adventure featuring the NUMA Special Assignments Team.

Book Review

Children's Review: Darker Still: A Novel of Magic Most Foul

Darker Still: A Novel of Magic Most Foul by Leanna Renee Hieber (Sourcebooks Fire, $8.99 trade paper, 336p., ages 12-up, 9781402260520, November 2011)

Using the framework of a 19th-century murder mystery, Leanna Renee Hieber (The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker) borrows themes from The Picture of Dorian Gray while weaving in larger societal issues such as feminism, class disparities and physical disabilities.

Seventeen-year-old Natalie Stewart lives a comfortable life as the daughter of the curator of the 10-year-old Metropolitan Museum of Art in the summer of 1880. Although Natalie was struck mute at age four when her mother died, she can hear perfectly, reads voraciously, uses sign language and writes to communicate--and she is very attractive. The events unfold through Natalie's diary entries, dated June 1 through June 19, 1880, the day she disappears.

Natalie's life changes when she sees a portrait of the "devilishly handsome" Lord Denbury, who purportedly committed suicide in England at age 18 after the death of his parents. She begins plotting to get her father to purchase the portrait for the Met, and her scheme leads her to the independent and open-minded Mrs. Northe, who's placed a bid on the painting. Mrs. Northe takes an immediate liking to Natalie and confides in her that she thinks there is more to Denbury's portrait than meets the eye. The woman believes the picture "could quite possibly have a connection with a lost part of Denbury's soul," and that dark forces have evil designs on the portrait--and possibly on the man himself.

Mrs. Northe and Natalie get pulled into a mystery involving runes, hieroglyphs, Christian saints and magic spells. Natalie discovers that she can travel across the threshold of the painting, and love blooms between her and the dashing Lord Denbury trapped within the picture frame. But she and Mrs. Northe also discover a doppleganger using Denbury's body as a vessel, and Natalie foresees in dreams the doppleganger's Jack-the-Ripper–style murders, as he starts terrorizing the area called Five Points in Manhattan. Can they figure out the puzzle and unite Denbury's body and soul before it's too late? Natalie, an intelligent and strong protagonist, finds a champion in Mrs. Northe, whose motto is: "A woman should be as educated as humanly possible about anything that interests her." To Heiber's credit, Natalie and Mrs. Northe's friendship is every bit as compelling as the romance at the novel's center. Many teens will be reeled in by the romance, but will also be left thinking about how different things were for women a century ago, trapped by gender and birthright. This smart novel will have wide appeal. --Jennifer M. Brown


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Titles in Chicagoland and Milwaukee Last Week

The following were the bestselling books at independent bookstores in the Chicago and Milwaukee areas during the week ended Sunday, October 30:

1. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
2. Blue Nights by Joan Didion
3. The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
4. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
5. The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan
6. Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
7. Everyone Leads by Paul Schmitz
8. The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston
9. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
10. The Outcasts by John Flanagan

The reporting bookstores and their handselling favorites:

Anderson's, Naperville and Downers Grove: Inheritance by Christopher Paolini
Book Cellar, Lincoln Square: Brandwashed by Martin Lindstrom
Book Stall at Chestnut Court, Winnetka: The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
Book Table, Oak Park: An Uncertain Place by Fred Vargas
Books & Co., Oconomowoc
Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee: Everyone Leads by Paul Schmitz
57th St. Books, Chicago: Scenes from Village Life by Amos Oz
Lake Forest Books: The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston
Next Chapter, Mequon
Read Between the Lynes, Woodstock
Seminary Co-op: Body Sweats by Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven
Women and Children First, Chicago: We the Animals by Justin Torres

[Many thanks to the booksellers and Carl Lennertz!]

AuthorBuzz: St. Martin's Press: Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen
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